Full disclosure: Joe Mahoney is a friend of mine and we host a podcast together, so I may be a little biased.
But let’s start with how I decided to consume this novel. As I know Joe pretty well, I figured I would hear his voice while I read the book, so I opted to listen to the audiobook version, which is excellent.
This was a terrible mistake.
You see, one of the characters is named Gordon Rainer. So what, you say? If I had been reading that name, on paper or on my e-reader, I don’t think it would have been problem. But every single time I heard Joe say “Rainer” in his read, I had to resist the urge to reply.
“Why do you keep saying my name, Joe. Why?”
Have I been thoroughly tuckerized by Joe? I suspect so.
What is tuckerized?
Tuckerization “is the act of using a person’s name (and sometimes other characteristics) in an original story as an in-joke.” [Wikipedia]
Can I provide you with textual examples of how Joe has so mercilessly tuckerized me? No. Again, purchasing this novel in audio form has proved to be a tragic error.
However, I do remember several references to Rainer’s thinning hair and some other physical features that arguably apply. That would be the aforementioned “other characteristics.” Where I definitely differ from the character is that I do not have a pencil-thin mustache, and I promise, dear reader, I never will. I also don’t have a British accent. (At least, not a thoroughly convincing one.) Finally, I do not lead a group of intrepid humans attempting to defend Earth from alien invasion. Though on this front, it’s possible Joe captured my true, heroic nature. Perhaps I am being narcissistic, and just hanging too much on a name.
But there are so many names Joe could have chosen. I mean, the main character’s name is Barnabus J. Wildebear, which displays a certain creative – if not deranged – flair, so why choose a name so close to mine for the leader of the Casa Terra?
Maybe I should just be flattered by this whole thing.
Should you read A Time and A Place?
Anyway, you’re probably wondering how any of this is going to help you decide whether you should read Joe’s book, or not. If you’re reading this on my website, then I suspect it will intrigue you. Who is this audacious author, tuckerizing my beloved Mark A. Rayner for possibly nefarious reasons? If you’re reading this on Audible, Amazon, Goodreads, etc., the next paragraph is for you.
What I love about this book is that it’s an intelligent and amusing take of the time travel genre. The aforementioned Wildebear goes on an expansive and compelling journey through space, time, and importantly, his own family history. It’s more complicated than he ever thought. As I do IRL, I really enjoy Joe’s dry wit and sly sense of humor. The book is at turns philosophical, literary and often, really gross. (Wildebear experiences a variety of goos, gucks, and gunks in his adventures.)
So, am I really upset by my Tuckerization? Absolutely! I’m mock outraged!